PRCA sets out plans to address ethnic diversity in PR

The PRCA has announced a series of measures designed to increase the representation and accelerate the progression of black and ethnic minority professionals in public relations.

Data from last year’s PRCA Census indicates that nine out of ten PR professionals (89%) identify as white, a fall of just 3% since the industry Census in 2011.

BAME Advisory Board
The PRCA will introduce a BAME Advisory Board – which will be represented at PRCA board level – to accelerate efforts to increase representations of BAME professionals in agencies and in-house teams.

The Advisory Board will seek cross-industry collaboration with other PR and marketing associations to establish a consensus for change and a plan to confront the obstacles preventing BAME professionals from progressing.

The Advisory Board will oversee the PRCA’s existing Schools Outreach Programme and build on the recommendations of the PRCA’s Diversity and Inclusion guidelines to champion racial equality and progression across all levels of seniority.

Cementing Diversity in the CMS
The PRCA Communications Management Standard (CMS) is the hallmark of excellence of communications agencies and in-house teams. The BAME Advisory Board will review the diversity criteria of the CMS and, from January 2021, all organisation undergoing CMS accreditation will be required to meet renewed standards of excellence on diversity and inclusion without exception.

Embedding Diversity in learning and development
From September, completion of a diversity module will be compulsory for all professionals undertaking PRCA qualifications and CPD. The diversity module will sit alongside the compulsory ethics module to promote best practice approaches to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The PRCA will also incorporate diversity training into its new leadership training programme launching in June.

Black and ethnic minority representation at events
The PRCA will commit to increasing the numbers of BAME speakers at events, with particular emphasis on its national events programme. Diversity and Inclusion will be a key theme of the organisation’s flagship National Conference in September to encourage an industry-wide cultural shift around ethnic diversity. 

Announcing the news, PRCA Diversity Chair, Rax Lakhani said:

“The ongoing conversation around diversity is one that encompasses multiple factors that individually require further attention and industry scrutiny. It is time for legitimate concerns around the exclusion of voices such as those of BAME professionals to be tackled head-on by us all. ‘BAME’ itself is a broad term and we’re acutely aware of the different issues faced by differing ethnic groups. I look forward to working with the new Advisory Board as we seek to advance towards a more diverse and inclusive working culture in PR.”

PRCA Chairman Jim Donaldson said:

“The murder of George Floyd and all of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations over the last few weeks have bought into sharp focus how much we still have to do as an industry to fight the scourge of racism in the UK, as well as building more and better career opportunities for ethnically diverse professionals in our sector.  The PRCA has been campaigning on this issue for some time, but this is more pressing than ever and this new Advisory Board will inject some new urgency to deliver real change.  “
Further information on the Advisory Board and its make-up will be published on Wednesday 1 July.

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